Micro-Moments Now: Why expectations for "right now" are on the rise

People are making decisions faster than ever before, and they expect to be able to act on those decisions instantly. We as marketers can make it even easier for people to get things done, says Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas Lisa Gevelber.

Impatience, immediate action, instant gratification, even some impulsiveness—these are just a handful of descriptors for behavior today. We have all been empowered and emboldened by information. With our phones acting as supercomputers in our pockets, we can find, learn, do, and buy whenever the need arises—or the whim strikes.

This ability to get things done in the moment—paired with the fact that brands are getting better at delivering speedy, frictionless mobile experiences—is driving expectations higher than ever.  

Since 3 in 4 smartphone owners turn to search first to address their immediate needs,2 we dug into search data to better understand what this shifting consumer behavior looks like, and how it impacts all of us as marketers. Here’s what we found.

People are making on-the-spot decisions

Search interest in ”open now” has tripled in the past two years.3 At the same time, searches for “store hours” have dropped.

The Rise of Open Now

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When we look at some of the rising “open now” searches, we see that they represent both impromptu decisions (“I have some spare time to get my nails done”) and emergency situations (“I just cut my finger and need a doctor, stat!”).

Rising "Open Now" Searches

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People are searching at the exact moment they need something and are looking for places that can meet their immediate need. In other words, when making these on-the-spot decisions, they are more loyal to their need than to any particular place.

People expect to get products and services immediately

In some ways, we have all come to expect instant information. But expecting the actual product or service right away? That’s the new normal.

We can illustrate this with search data. Mobile searches related to “same day shipping” have grown over 120% since 2015,4 as people are no longer willing to wait even a few days for their order to arrive. We can also see that searches for “same-day shipping” peak first thing in the morning. Rather than running an errand on the way to work, people are turning to their devices with the expectation that they can find a business that can help them immediately.

Same-day searches spike first thing in the morning

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People are increasingly making last-minute plans

Maybe we’re all becoming more impulsive. Maybe we’re procrastinating more with our plans because we know we can get away with it. Either way, our planning behavior is changing.

Enabled by instant information, people can breathe a bit easier. When advance planning isn’t possible (or maybe just isn’t their thing), they’re still able to get things done.

Travel planning illustrates this well. Over the past two years, travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” have grown over 150% on mobile. People are regularly searching for “flights today” or “hotels tonight.”6

"Tonight" or "Today" Hotel and Air Queries

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How brands can keep pace

Your consumers are going to be everyone from Plan-Ahead Pete to Impromptu Ilana and Last-Minute Larry. But regardless of their personal organizational habits, their expectations are all the same—they want to get what they want, when they want it.

In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. … We’ve actually seen that for every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%.

Ultimately, that means marketers must commit to the creation of incredible mobile experiences. Fast and frictionless is now table stakes, and the basics—like load time—can make or break you. In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.7 But we aren’t there yet—the average mobile site takes 22 seconds to fully load. We've actually seen that for every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%.8 To test your own mobile site speed, give Test My Site a spin. It even provides instant recommendations to make your mobile site more instant.

Consumers have higher expectations than ever for right here, right now experiences. We'll continue to share additional insights about their search behaviors, as well as examples from brands who are effectively winning them over.

Micro-Moments Now: Why you should be the adviser consumers are searching for